Teaching English as a Ministry Tool for the Gospel

Global workers Peggy and Heather are two of many who serve in a continually sought after, globally relevant, and always needed vocation – education. With the consistent rise in immigrants, tourists, and general movement of expats, there comes an equal rise in the need for language learning.

Learning a language takes time and often requires the prolonged company of both teachers and fellow students. The communal nature of language learning provides opportunities for networking, forming relationships, and having deeper conversations outside of the classroom. For those yearning to share God’s love with others, this is an ideal environment with many chances to talk with people who need the hope that Jesus offers.

Peggy Winford volunteers alongside a team of English teachers in a continuing education course. “[The relaxed nature of this conversation group] is very well received by the Germans,” Peggy notes, adding that there are students who have enjoyed its friendly atmosphere for longer than her five years of involvement! “It’s a couple hours a week, so it’s not a driving force, but it’s a fun and great way for us to connect with Germans – it’s almost like a club.”

Finding creative ways to share the Gospel in this conversation group has not always been easy. “Many of the students either have no interest in Christianity or already think they are Christian because they were baptized as a baby, so we are very careful how we share our faith,” Peggy explains. “We’ve watched GEMstone media’s film The Kingdom, using it as a discussion piece; and with some students, we’ve watched part of the Alpha course together outside of the classroom.” As relationships continue to develop, Peggy and her colleagues continue to pursue creative ways to share their faith.

Heather Bachman has children in her English-learning student body, offering a different experience in the realm of teaching. Though the local elementary school where Heather teaches offers a more structured environment, there’s no shortage of opportunities to share the Gospel with her students. “I teach in a Christian setting, but the students are not primarily Christians,” she explains. “It’s amazing, though, because that means I am able to openly talk to them about Jesus, pray with them, tell them how much He loves them, and hopefully touch their hearts with the Gospel.”

In addition to teaching in the classroom, Heather also brings her instruction – and faith – to the school gym. “We talk about faith regularly with my basketball team and pray at every practice,” Heather revels. She’s also introduced a devotional for the pre-teen girls, piquing the players’ curiosity about Jesus. “I love when they ask questions, because that means they are really thinking about what they’ve heard,” Heather says. “Having grown up in a Christian home, it still surprises me to hear questions like: ‘Who is David?’”

Whatever the setting, there’s no doubt that education is a wonderful way to make an impact. “We are teaching English to build relationships,” Peggy says, stating that the classes allow for connections to be made on a more personal level.

“I pray every time I drive to the school that I will remember the main purpose behind why I am there. It’s not just to teach the kids English, it is to share the love of Jesus with them,” Heather states.

We want to take a moment to acknowledge those who use their gift of teaching as a form of ministry, especially across Europe. It’s not always an easy task! Let’s pray for wisdom as they teach, endurance for when it gets hard, and spiritual impact to be made within the student body.

Short-term Mission Opportunities In Europe for Young Adults

“The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore plead with the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest.” – Luke 10:2

If you’re familiar with Greater Europe Mission, you likely know that each day at 10:02 we do just as this verse requests – we ask the Lord to send out labourers into His harvest. Each year, the Lord answers this prayer! Teams of fresh, short-term workers eager to fulfill this mandate are sent throughout Europe to assist established missionaries in spreading the Gospel. GEM’s Ten2 Project creates impact, both in those who are sent and those receiving them.

Hannah Norton, a Canadian hairdresser, was one of the eighty-four Ten2 participants serving in Europe through the summer of 2022. Her experience began with initial training in France with the entire team, but eventually landed her in Frankfurt, Germany where she spent most of her summer in language training and ministry. “You experience what a long-term missionary goes through in their first year, because you need to learn the language and put yourself in the culture and connect with a church,” Hannah says. “You have to come with an open heart and an open mind.”

Jesse Pauly, a full-time worker in Italy who oversaw six Ten2 workers over the summer, agrees. “Our two major intentions for the summer were to give our missionaries a realistic experience of what our lives and ministry look like during the summer and for them to help us make more connections with the people in our neighbourhoods.”

Germany and Italy were just two of ten countries throughout Europe impacted by the Ten2 Project this past summer. The college-aged participants sacrificed their summers to share the Gospel with a spiritually hungry continent. “It encouraged us greatly to see the boldness of these missionaries, watching them dive into the ministry and take initiative in talking to people regardless of any language barrier,” Jesse says.

“Ten2 was challenging,” Hannah remembers. “They get you out of so many different comfort zones. I’ve been on mission trips before, but this was different.” With days filled with language training, ministry, outreach, and volunteering, there is so much that takes place in only eight weeks.

Hannah’s days were filled from Tuesday to Sunday with an emphasis on speaking with university students on campuses. She learned how to effectively speak with non-believers and introduce the Gospel in an unintimidating way. One of her favourite moments was speaking with a Muslim girl about the Lord. “She had felt like there was a void in her life, like there was something that was missing, and no one could fill it,” Hannah recalls. Being able to point this girl to the Lord was a moment Hannah will always cherish.

Looking back on a fruitful summer, it’s clear that those involved will remain impacted. “I’ve realized missions is your life. You don’t have to go overseas to do missions,” Hannah states. “[But] I’d love to go back and do [Ten2 Project] again!”

“Having the Ten2 participants this summer was refreshing, encouraging, and fruitful,” Jesse remarks. “We’ve made countless new contacts, and two different Bible studies have been started as a result of this summer! We are looking forward to seeing more of the fruit from the seeds they planted.”

To see further impact in what has already started in Europe, would you pray with us that the Lord would continue to send more labourers into His harvest? Perhaps you’re a young adult with a passion to see Europe reached. Would you consider giving a summer to help us reach the lost? For more information, visit: https://gemission.ca/ten2/

Serving Missionally in Administrative Capacities

Mission work isn’t always easy to spot. Sometimes we need to look a little closer, even behind-the-scenes, to see the work that’s being done. Administrative work is much like this. We don’t always know the person who is making an impact, but their work is no less important!

In a mission organization like GEM, there is great need for planning, strategizing, and having structure to operate smoothly. With careful planning, missionaries who are sent out can focus on their tasks without the distraction of confusing paperwork, finances, or other logistics that can feel overwhelming.

People like Shirley, Chris, and Anna work behind-the-scenes to lighten the load of their fellow missionaries and help the agency grow in unique ways. There’s no doubt that administrators play a vital role in the spread of the Gospel. “I think the idea of the mission field just needing theologians and Bible teachers is an outdated notion,” Chris states. Whatever skill set God has blessed you with, whether it be in administration or otherwise, there is always room to serve uniquely with your individual expertise. God will use what He’s gifted you with for His glory!

Shirley, now serving in Canada, uses her expertise to help prepare short-term missionaries for their oversea trips with GEM Teams. Chris, serving in Germany, holds several roles including CFO for GEM US and GEM International and chairperson of GEM Germany’s board. Anna, also serving in Germany alongside Chris, helps however she can logistically to ease the workload of her fellow GEM workers.

With the help of admins like these three, GEM has been able to function smoothly and with clarity, showcasing a level of excellence that echoes the Lord’s example of order.

It is through their work that we can confidently donate toward the relief of Ukrainian refugees, knowing our funds are being utilized appropriately. Events like GEM’s Annual Conference can exist to refresh and encourage drained mission workers with the help of detail-oriented people. With help, those feeling God’s call to serve in a foreign land can do so without feeling overwhelmed by the process of getting there. It is through these faithful workers that the expansion of God’s Kingdom is even more attainable!

Their work doesn’t stop at the end of their spreadsheets, though. Knowing they’ve been called to their specific countries for a reason, they’ve intentionally been stepping beyond their desks to impact their communities. “We’re always trying to witness and be in community with our [unsaved] neighbours,” Chris admits, adding that he’s led small groups with students from a local school, and has found involvement in jiu jitsu an ideal avenue for outreach.

“There are things I’m involved in within the community that I see as ministry,” Anna comments, mentioning her involvement with a choir. “I was having trouble getting connected with my church [in Germany]. There’s a lot of crossover between the [choir] and the church, so [joining the choir] has helped me to have some inroads and get more connected there.”

Aside from serving her family while in Canada, Shirley’s pastoral heart shines through as she regularly connects with those in her congregation that haven’t been able to attend church. Within GEM, she helps however she can, which sometimes means leaving the country: “I sometimes go on trips with Teams – about once a year – to help out.”

Each person, with their own giftings and unique purposes, have distinct opportunities to serve the Lord and further His Kingdom. The next time you’re introduced to an individual preparing to serve missionally in an administrative capacity, consider the huge impact they will make! And not just in their field of expertise, but as Christ-carriers within their community!

Living Out the Great Commission in Community

British Pastor Joel is all too familiar with the state of the Church in the UK. Born and raised in the region, he currently leads a local Baptist church situated right on the border of London and Kent. Watching churches both wither and grow over the years, he has noticed what the Church most needs to thrive – and you’ll find that it’s really not that complicated!

“I’ve been [in this church] for seven years. The church was [initially] quite small and in a weak state, but over a three-year period we have effectively re-planted it,” Joel remarks, noting that after five years it was strong enough to withstand the global pandemic. In addition to the success of his current church’s re-plant, Joel is now boldly endeavouring to help re-plant a second church.

Hearing of successful church plants and growth within established churches should excite us! With only about 4% of the UK’s population living as Christians, we rejoice when there’s growth in the Kingdom of God. Joel shares the hard truth that Christendom has been on the decline in the UK. But there’s a way to change that: “If there are less Christians, the only way to create more Christians is to tell people about Jesus!”

Unfortunately, not all believers grasp the simplicity of God’s plan. “So many Christians are [instead] getting together and they’re praying for revival – which is a great starting point – but we’re praying that God would do what He asked us to do. Jesus died for this plan! The only thing He asked us to do is tell people.” Joel further explains, “It takes a whole village to raise a child, and isn’t that just what the Church is? You can’t lead someone to Christ on your own, you need your brothers and sisters with you.”

With the importance of community in mind, Joel is passionate about seeing people, not only come to Christ, but to continue to walk the good walk of faith. “I think Jesus counts sheep and I think that’s what pastors are meant to do; we’re meant to count and if someone is missing then we go find them.” With the pandemic affecting church attendance and the ability to fellowship, Joel has noticed some believers still preferring to watch church services from the comfort of their own homes. Joel explains: “You can’t do fellowship by yourself. Church was never intended to be a solo pursuit. It was never something you can live out or do on your own.”

As churches encourage people to attend services in person and enjoy fellowship face-to-face with others, it’s an opportune time for those churches to rise to their fullest potential. “[God says] love Me, love one another, and He asks us to do one thing – go and make disciples. How complicated is that? [I think] a simple plan done consistently, faithfully, and excellently would [not only] work, but would make an amazing testimony, to be able to say ‘God made a promise, and we just did our part. God did the rest.’ That’s what revival looks like.”

As we begin to walk in the simplicity of God’s plan, we can be content in knowing the rest is in His hands. “Faithfulness looks like putting one foot in front of the other and just making some good, old-fashioned plodding – one step, then another step. Then three to five years down the line, you’ve got something that’s exciting! Five to ten years down the line, you’ve got something even more exciting – it’s just about being consistent and faithful.”

As God does His part and as we pay attention, we’ll notice that He’s always doing incredible things! And if we’re faithful to do our part, then we’ll more likely see the revival we so desire to see.

“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age,’” (Matthew 28:18-20, NIV).

Ministry Opportunities in Unexpected Places

With each of us uniquely created with different giftings and passions from our Creator God, it can sometimes be confusing when deciding how to best reach the lost. Some believe ministry belongs inside a church building, while others see it as praying for people on the streets. The truth is ministry doesn’t always look stereotypical. The passions God has placed in our hearts can – and should – be used when reaching others.

Joel Lunetta, serving with GEM in Italy, is passionate about health and fitness, visiting the gym almost daily and building relationships with the regulars. It wasn’t until after becoming a missionary, though, that he realized his original beliefs about sacrifice weren’t what God intended for him. He didn’t need to sacrifice what he enjoyed most in order to best serve the Lord. “After a few months on the field, I really felt in my spirit to go [to the gym], and honestly, from early on in going, doors just opened to communicate with people in a different way than in the churches.”

Ministry of any type begins with laying down oneself. “Anything you love to do can turn into an idol, and so I chose to lay down fitness and say, ‘God, I’m incredibly passionate about this, but I give it to you – what do you want me to do with it?’” As Joel felt God’s leading to continue his visits to the gym, he found that his passion created endless Kingdom opportunities. “As conversations progress in the gym community, people become curious, opening a lot of dialogue. Oftentimes, these conversations continue outside of the gym over a meal, or over at our place, and eventually form into discipleship relationships.”

In Europe, locals are generally more cautious in building relationships. First, they want to see your character and if you’re trustworthy, so they observe you. “My language was so minimal in the first few months; it was really about them watching me.” Joel remembers. Even in these early moments, though, he experienced others noticing something different about him. “As a matter of fact, the gym owner told me, ‘You’re too happy.’ To which I replied, ‘Well, why not?’ He just zeroed in on me and said, ‘Nobody’s that happy.’” Joel laughs, remarking on the perfect opportunity he had to explain his Source of happiness.

There’s often a temptation to isolate oneself while at the gym, but imagine the potential impact of using this personal time as a time for opportunity instead! Joel shares some encouragement for each of us: “Be ready to submit, because there are conversations you can have, and impacts you can have while you’re there.  Be ready to plant those seeds,” Joel comments. “And be bold! It’s a great way to share faith and evangelize in a way that you will have an impact. You can street preach all day, but if you’re not gifted in preaching and if you don’t know the people around you, you might not get anywhere. But if you have a missional community, a place you already have accolades, a title, or just a passion, God can use that!”

Inviting God to join us in the activities we most enjoy doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, as we trust His leading and submit to Him, it can be quite simple! God knows our hearts and unique passions – He has specifically placed them inside of us. Imagine the tremendous ways they can be used for His glory when we allow Him to take delight in these passions with us!

What hobbies and interests do you have? Would you submit them to the Lord and see what He does with them, through you?

The Plentiful Opportunities for Ministry in North Macedonia

North Macedonia, a southeastern country in Europe, is a richly diverse and beautiful land, both in its landscapes and its people. Rachelle Neal, GEM International’s Vice President of Europe, has lived in North Macedonia and served its residents for about 15 years, and she will lead us in discovering more about this picturesque land of opportunity.

This mountainous, landlocked country, surrounded by five neighbouring countries, is home to just over 2 million people. With much of its population claiming orthodox or Muslim beliefs, North Macedonia, like much of Europe, has a very small number of evangelical Christians. With a considerable amount of the population able to converse in English, though, it’s a perfect opportunity to house ministry for those not fluent in Macedonian or Albanian.

Although language barriers in many European countries often cause challenges in the early stages of mission work, North Macedonia holds the advantage of a large population of English speakers, creating an easier transition for missionaries who don’t speak the country’s other languages. “We do a lot with interns, whether they’re Ten2 summer interns or TESOL [Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages] interns, and a lot of short-term teams come through to help with projects,” Rachelle explains. “You can just walk in and start working with people because [most] know English.”

Using the English language in ministry has also been an excellent way of treading on neutral ground between the two main people groups – Albanians, who tend to be Muslim, and Macedonians, who tend to be orthodox. “People don’t feel like they’re being a traitor to their culture when [the church service] is English and international,” Rachelle says, mentioning that English isn’t typically used exclusively for either group. “English sometimes brings those barriers down and allows us to have those conversations a little more easily.”

When deciding how to reach the locals spiritually, Rachelle mentions the importance of using the gifts God has given us. “God has equipped us with various skills and experiences, each of us uniquely, and he wants us to use all these things. I’m a teacher and my husband is a businessman, so we’ve used those skills here in Macedonia as a way to form bridges into the community and relationships so that we can more effectively share Christ.”

As part of serving in the education industry in Macedonia, Rachelle sees the importance of instilling critical thinking and communication skills in learners. “[Many locals will] do the actions [in religious rituals], but they’ve lost the meaning or the understanding and the connection with Christ behind those things,” Rachelle explains. “What we would do with adults is ask them of their [orthodox] traditions and the why behind it, so as they’re researching it, they’ll discover [answers] for themselves, which is really fun.”

Currently only a small group works in North Macedonia with GEM, allowing for plenty of opportunities for others to serve within this charming country. “We would love to grow this team,” Rachelle admits. “And because there have already been foundations built here in the areas of business, education, and the church, there are opportunities to walk in and impact those worlds.”

Although there’s plenty to be done in this country, there’s still much to celebrate. “There have been many great things happening in North Macedonia lately,” Rachelle remarks. “The number of volunteers at the new learning centre has grown, refugees are coming for classes, interns have arrived, and a student has attended church. We are praising God for His faithfulness.”

Will you pray with me, thanking God for what He’s already doing, and for further impacts to be made across North Macedonia?

Practical and Spiritual Support of Ukrainian Refugees

The amount of love and support the world has been showing Ukraine through their adversity has been inspiring. Although there are currently no GEM workers serving within Ukraine, labourers in the surrounding countries have been working tirelessly with the waves of incoming refugees. Many of the GEM workers who have stepped up are doing so alongside partnering agencies, showcasing a beautiful display of unity within the global church. With that being said, let’s take a closer look at the work being done and how your support is making an impact.

Right along the border of Ukraine is the unassuming country of Moldova – a small, poor country welcoming refugees with open arms. One unique advantage this country has from other bordering countries is its language; “[Very few] border countries have a population that speaks their heart language – Russian,” Dwight Poggemiller mentions. “[Ukrainians have been] able to communicate immediately, enter into counselling, compassion, and be cared for in their heart language. Also, [Christians have been] able to enter into spiritual conversations with these folks.”

Interestingly, the countries seeing the most action have some of Europe’s highest number of believers. “Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine had some of the highest percentages of evangelical Christians before this conflict [ranging from 3-5% of the population],” Dwight states. “There’s not only a significant number of believers there, but they’re also very united… and it’s been a great example of the body of Christ working in unity and reaching out with Christ’s love.”

GEM workers, teaming up with partner agencies, have been able to work together to meet the needs of refugees entering Moldova. “The Lord’s used this to be a great reconnect with old partners and new connection with new partners, and through that we’ve been able to have a significant impact. We’ve touched probably 30 different locations, churches, and refugee centers with [different kinds] of aid,” Dwight revels.

Poland, with almost 3 million Ukrainians either passing through or settling, has had a huge influx of refugees looking for safety. There we witness the benefits of believers working together, both inside and outside of GEM. Phil Gibson explains, “I am connecting with ministry partners in Poland who are currently housing numerous refugees from Poland. We have set up an agency agreement with them so that we can send financial assistance.” GEM workers are partnering with organizations who are already established in order to multiply their impact and meet the needs of people who are hurting.

Kevin Weppler, a worker in Romania has been consistently finding ways to step up to the ongoing need. “Our national partners here in the south have been returning with van-loads of mothers and children trying to get away from the border.” Ashley, an intern working alongside the Wepplers pleads, “Right now, the need is food. Every open church and home is seeking to provide warm meals during their stay, and non-perishable items to send them onwards with.”

Further from Ukraine, but still seeing the effects of the war, is MaryLynn Parnell serving in Spain. “Girona is a transit place and a settling place, so there are people who are settling here,” she notes. “As we know of families that are settling, we find out their needs. People will then drop off donations for [refugee] families that they connected with, who will then come [to this central meeting spot] and pick them up.”

The impact of your financial donations supporting GEM’s initiative have been noticed. “Funds that have been raised are responding to those first needs… like luggage, feminine products, or things that you can’t always readily get right away… [Refuges will] get housing, and clothing will be donated, but if they need anything outside of that, we’re just really excited to be able to help,” MaryLynn explains.  

The people of Ukraine who have fled, now in the range of over 5 million people, depend on the compassion of strangers. This has become an amazing opportunity for the church to step up and show Christ’s love to those desperate for hope.

Let’s pray.

Lord, we pray for the displaced – those who have had to move without any preparation, that they would find a place that would allow them to feel safe. We pray you would surround them with believers who would speak life and hope to them and give them companionship during this dark season. And lastly, we pray that you would keep our hearts filled with your love, even while we might not agree with what’s happening. Amen.

The Unique Traditions and Celebrations of Easter in Spain

With Europe’s historically religious roots, it isn’t surprising to see that many of its countries still celebrate Easter today – though often in secular manners and not always the way we do here in Canada.

Poland’s traditions include Śmigus-dyngus (men splashing women with water on Easter Monday), while Czech Republic has pomlázka (whips made of willow-twigs for slapping girls). In Ireland, it’s time for spring cleaning, while residents in Greece and Bulgaria have fun with rocket and egg battles, respectively.

Although many countries have their own unique customs (and I’m sure we could spend an afternoon discussing them), let’s dive into the details of Spain’s traditions with the help of GEM associate Marley Blake.

Located in Southwestern Europe, Spain celebrates Easter at the same time as Canada. In addition to Good Friday and Easter Sunday, though, they celebrate for an entire week, beginning on Palm Sunday and ending a week later, on Easter Sunday – this is called Holy Week, or Semana Santa. You won’t find much evidence of an Easter bunny in Spain; their focus this week is solely on Jesus and the sacrifice that he made.

There are a few days through Holy Week that carry the most significance. On Palm Sunday, celebrators will bring olive branches to their churches to be blessed. On Holy Wednesday, you might spot some locals wearing dark hoods and playing percussion instruments throughout the day and night in commemoration of Judas’ betrayal. Good Friday, the day of Jesus’ death, is commemorated with showy processions throughout city streets. And finally, Easter Sunday is a day to spend with family and celebrate Christ’s resurrection.

During Holy Week, the most prominent traditional displays you’ll see are religious processions by Catholic brotherhoods; from their home church, through the city streets, and back again, the brotherhoods carry elaborate floats with a depiction of the crucifixion story. Marley recounts that many people gather to watch these parades of volunteers dressed as both Roman soldiers and penitents dressed in tunic robes with face coverings. “By wearing the hats in Easter processions, penitents are re-enacting Christ’s road to Calvary. The hat pointing upwards is also supposed to represent the penitent’s journey to heaven.”

Like many countries in Europe, only a small percentage of Spanish nationals have a relationship with Jesus. “As I watched the processional go by, I wondered how many people were simply going through the motions of what they do each year without knowing the true meaning behind it all,” Marley remembers. For many, these celebrations have been whittled down to an empty tradition.

Adding to her uncertainty, the most important element of Easter was missing in Marley’s city and its events: “Even though the procession tells people about the sacrifice that Jesus made being crucified, it left out the most important event – the resurrection. It saddens me to think that people who do not know the entire story from the Bible may believe that Jesus was defeated at the cross.” Thankfully, this significant event is honoured on Easter Sunday in many other areas of Spain, usually in the form of more processionals.

Although it is wonderful to see a country observe the life and sacrifice of our Lord and Saviour during Easter, let’s continue to pray that the entirety of the Good News, and the hope and joy that come with it, speaks to those who don’t yet know new life in Christ. And let’s give thanks that Christians like Marley are in position to share the full story with curious spectators in Spain this holiday.

The Benefits of Short-term and Long-term Ministries

Have you ever considered serving in missions but were unsure for how long? What has it looked like? Did you feel pressured about how long you should go, and how effective a short trip could be? Perhaps you’ve heard the notion that a short-term trip impacts the traveller, while serving long-term impacts the locals. There are so many wonderful stories of career missionaries, it’s easy to feel the burden of which one is more effective!

The truth is, each of us has a unique path in which the Lord leads, and it’ll look different for every believer. Indeed, not everyone goes, and not everyone who goes stays! Valuing our roles as senders is an incredibly important part in all of this! In this instance, though, let’s take a deeper look at the benefits of short- and long-term ministries.

In Mark 16:15, Jesus says, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Some might argue that the best way to live out this verse is to serve as a career missionary, but that doesn’t mean we should disqualify the value of a shorter trip.

Mike Taylor has a unique perspective on all of this. He’s actively been involved on both the sending and the receiving ends of mission work, first as a youth pastor in the United States, and then as a full-time Christian worker living in England. He’s quick to acknowledge, “I definitely think short-term missions is important.”

Going deeper, he shares that the goal is to “get people invested in relational connections that lead to either gospel conversations or gospel conversions, but we’re not hung up on where those happen or how they happen, but just [that] they do happen.”

With that being said, let’s explore both short-term and long-term opportunities from Mike’s perspective, looking at just a few examples of how impactful each can be:


Brings encouragement. “When we receive people… it’s a huge encouragement to our team on the ground. There’s a lot of energy, enthusiasm – things that come from a short-term trip that really fuels our people on the ground.”

Life-long Impact. “90% of the conversations I have [with career missionaries] on the Instagram livestream I do every week, those people went on short-term trips, and now they’re serving career.” “Even if [short-term participants] don’t feel called to go long-term, I think they see the world through a different lens because of the impact of the trip.”


More Influence. “The longer you’re in a place doing life, the greater chance you’ll see spiritual fruit. One of our mantras is ‘The gospel moves at the speed of relationship.’ The idea isn’t just someone giving their life to Jesus, it’s just furthering the conversation.”

Deeper Conversations. “The other mantra we say is ‘Live your life in such a way that people ask, “Why?”‘ For example, ‘Why are you doing what you’re doing? Why would you come all the way from Canada to Germany, or France, or England, or wherever?’” Locals will better see something different about you when you’re living among them, and as conversations deepen, doors will open for gospel truths to be revealed.

Regardless of what your ministry looks like, one core value that keeps coming up is the value of serving as a relational-minded Christian. This sounds like something that would benefit us right here in our neighbourhoods at home, too, doesn’t it? And because seeds are planted by both short- and long-term interactions, any budding relationship with someone can then grow and be nurtured by those who have long-term connection, whether long-term missionary or national believer!

So just as GEM missionaries pray every day at 10:02 (in reference to Luke 10:2), will you pray with me for the Lord to send workers out into the world, however that might look? Would you ask God if He would like to send you out into the harvest?

“He told them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.'” – Luke 10:2

Hope for Victims of Human Sex Trafficking

Imagine for a moment, a world with no hope. Your trust in others has been lost, and you no longer know who or what to have faith in. An involuntary wall is put up anytime you’re introduced to someone new, knowing that they might also betray you. Simply put, you’ve been dragged down a dark road and seem to be trapped there.

There are millions of people across the globe who are living without hope. More specifically, millions who have been stripped of their freedom when they became victims to human sex trafficking. These people have become lost in this dark reality, unsure of how to escape, or if it’s even escapable.

Fortunately, there are people who desire to see these victims freed from this existence. Deborah, a worker with GEM in France, is one of them. Her goal is not only to see a decline in human trafficking but to bring hope back into the victims’ lives. “Our primary goal is to share the gospel with the women. We believe really strongly that that’s what differentiates us from some of the other groups in Paris,” she says.

“We owe much, in many cities, to the secular and Catholic organizations who’ve done research, started street work, or paved the way for Christian organizations like us,” Deborah says appreciatively. “However, they don’t offer the women the same type of hope,” she says as she remembers a story of a woman who was rescued by a secular organization. “She had left the streets physically, but mentally she was not much further along than she was before… she still felt that she had no worth.” 

Some of the most powerful stories are of women who haven’t even left the streets yet; “This one girl,” Deborah starts, “she hadn’t left the streets yet but wanted to, had written a worship song… She sang it for us, and it was so beautiful because the lyrics were essentially, ‘I look around and I see everyone else is carrying their god forward, but my God carries me, and I see everyone else searching for God, but my God searches for me, I see everyone else being used by their god, but my God cares for me and protects me’. I just felt so much of the power of God in that moment.”

Imagine, a world where hope is within reach, promising to be renewed!

“The goal is to walk alongside these women in a discipling-type role,” Deborah states as she discusses what ministry looks like after the women have left the streets. While women may be free from their physical bondage, their psychological bondage ties up their ability to trust. It takes a lot of time for women to trust others again. Deborah admits: “Aftercare is a long-term process, something that takes years usually.”

This trust can begin to grow before they’re even free. “We would go out once a week [or two], and we’d start with prayer time… Then we’d go out on the streets and try to start conversations with these women,” Deborah explains. After building rapport with the women, the team began exchanging phone numbers, sharing the gospel, and eventually helping them with any paperwork or legal documents needed to start their lives afresh.

Christians who take a stand against human trafficking are vital: because of them, those trapped in the system can experience the life-changing effects of God’s perfect love. Let’s pray together for their continued faithfulness and passion, that their efforts will change lives, and that others across the globe will take what they’ve learned and consider joining this type of ministry as well.

If this ministry strikes a chord in your heart, we’d encourage you to learn more. One excellent resource that comes recommended from our Christian workers is www.defenddignity.ca. You can start to make an impact today, wherever you are, and if you have questions, please be in touch with us and we can help connect you with the right people and resources.